The New York Knicks could help the Spurs two-fold
There are a couple of reasons the Knicks will be a team to watch as the season winds down if you're a Spurs fan. The first is that they're very close in their overall record to the Spurs themselves. As of Friday morning, they're sitting at 31-42 while the Spurs are at 29-44. That's just a two game difference.
That might not seem important since New York is in the Eastern Conference, but where the teams currently hovering in the bottom 30s in wins end up could play a big part in the NBA Draft Lottery. If they remain around where they are and finish with the 7th or 8th-worst record in the league, they'll have at least a 26% chance to move up into the top four and a six percent chance at number one.
Where the odds really start to shift unfavorably in this top-heavy draft is when you finish with the 10th-worst record as opposed to 9th. Then there's another big dip when you finish 11th instead of 10th.
With at least the top four slots in this draft likely to go to very promising prospects, the chance at a top four pick is where you want higher odds. Here are the odds of nabbing one of those spots for all 14 lottery teams, per Tankathon. The worst record is first, and so on. For this data, I used Thursday's projections, since it didn't involve a three-way tie for 10th as Friday's projections do.
8. 26.3% (Spurs)
10. 13.9% (Wizards)
12. 8.0% (Knicks)
Notice the big drops I mentioned. The Knicks are currently hovering around the 10-12 range, so Spurs fans should be rooting for them to win as much as they can to make sure they don't push their guys down further.
Beyond that, New York can also help San Antonio by finishing ahead of the Lakers in the overall standings. With every team that finishes with a better record than them, the 2nd round pick from Los Angeles owed to San Antonio gets one spot higher.
The Knicks and Lakers tied the season series, so a potential tiebreaker would come down to team records against their own conference.
The Knicks currently have the 12th-easiest remaining schedule in the league. Let's hope they can have some success to close out the season for multiple reasons.
Another team the Spurs should be rooting on for similar reasons: the Washington Wizards.